Man refused treatment from optician after Manchester attack

Eric Greene pleaded guilty to telling an Asian shop worker that he would rather be seen by a white person. Picture: Sam Hadie
Eric Greene pleaded guilty to telling an Asian shop worker that he would rather be seen by a white person. Picture: Sam Hadie
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A man who refused to be treated by an optician in the wake of the Manchester bombing atrocity because she was not white has been blasted by a sheriff.

Eric Greene, 58, was branded a bigot by Sheriff Nikola Stewart who told him ‘Charlottesville is what happens if you don’t take this kind of thing seriously.’

Greene, of Carluke, Lanarkshire, had gone to a Specsavers store in Lanark when he was asked by an employee to join her at her desk.

The appointment was two days after the Manchester Arena bombing of May 22 that saw 22 people killed at an Ariana Grande concert.

Trainee optician Sarah Kerr noticed Greene looked hesitant but was left stunned when he told her ‘I don’t mean to sound impersonal but I’d rather be seen by a white person’.

Greene pulled down his t-shirt to show he was wearing a Star of David necklace and added, ‘I’m sorry but Manchester was the last straw for me.’

Horrified staff overheard the outburst and asked him to leave before police were called and Greene was arrested.

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When interviewed he repeated that Manchester was the last straw for him and told police he had family living there.

Greene has appeared at Lanark Sheriff Court and admitted a racist breach of the peace.

Depute fiscal Ziad Hassan said: “The complainer is of Indian and Pakistani origin but British born, and is employed in the store as a trainee.

“She asked him to join her at her desk and she would book him in as is standard procedure.

“She noted he appeared hesitant but eventually he came and sat down.

“The accused asked her if she would be his optician for the day but she explained she would only be booking him in.

“He then stated, ‘I’m sorry to be impersonal but I’d rather be seen by a white person’.

“The complainer was taken aback by this and other staff in the shop overheard the comments.

“He then pulled down his t-shirt and revealed he was wearing a Star of David necklace.

“The accused stated ‘Manchester was the last straw’ and he was asked to leave and police were contacted.”

Kathleen McNulty, defending, said: “His wife says his filter has gone but I’m not trying to diminish what was said to this lady.

“He and his wife actually attended the shop and made the appointment beforehand and there was no expression of these views.

“He didn’t attend to cause harassment to anyone.

“He realises he has got this wrong but it was too late and is devastated by this. He spent time in the cells as a result and this will now follow him.

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“He accepts his guilt and tells me he apologised in the shop but realises he has done wrong.”

Sheriff Stewart said: “I’m shocked and I think everybody in this courtroom is shocked by that utterly bigoted and prejudicial narration.

“What is at the root of these views? We have to look deeper into why this gentleman would make these type of comments.

“Charlottesville is what happens if you don’t take this kind of thing seriously.

“I’m calling for reports because I need to understand what lies at the root of this.

“Prejudice is a cancer which eats away at society and stops it being a place in which we feel safe.”

Sentence was deferred until next month for reports and Greene refused to comment.

Violent clashes erupted between white nationalists attending a far-right march and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

One person died and 19 others were injured after a car rammed into a crowd of people who were protesting against the rally.